U.Va. Librarian Karin Wittenborg to Give Convocation Address

October 09, 2008

October 9, 2008 — University Librarian Karin Wittenborg will be the featured speaker at the University of Virginia's Fall Convocation, to take place on Oct. 24 at 2 p.m. in John Paul Jones Arena.

This event opens U.Va.'s Family Weekend, when the University offers a variety of events giving students' families an opportunity to take part in University life. 

During Fall Convocation, University President John T. Casteen III will present intermediate honors to third-year students ranked in the top 20 percent of their class. Casteen also will announce the recipient of this year's Thomas Jefferson Award, the University's highest honor, given annually since 1955.

The award recognizes a member of the faculty who has exemplified in character, work and influence the principles and ideals of the University's founder. Past winners include law professor Richard J. Bonnie, former College of Arts & Sciences dean Edward L. Ayers and politics professor Larry J. Sabato.

Wittenborg is the first woman to be University librarian at U.Va. She is responsible for 12 libraries across Grounds, an off-site storage facility and a staff of 250.

During her 15-year tenure, the University Library has received a national award for excellence and achieved "firsts" that are now standard features of research libraries, such as cafés and partnerships to build digital collections. In 2004, Wittenborg received the University's Elizabeth Zintl Leadership Award. Her essay, "Rocking the Boat," was published in 2003.

Before joining U.Va., she held positions at the University of California at Los Angeles, Stanford University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the State University of New York at Albany and Buffalo. She received a bachelor of arts degree from Brown University and a master's in library science from SUNY-Buffalo.

Following convocation, the Class of 2010 will hold its class ring ceremony on the north terrace of the Rotunda at 4:30 p.m. (rain site: John Paul Jones Arena). Class members customarily begin wearing their rings during their third year. Allen Groves, dean of students, will speak.

Also as part of Family Weekend, Casteen will address parents and students Oct. 25 at 9:30 a.m. in the Old Cabell Hall auditorium. Other events planned for the long weekend include lectures, exhibits, tours, open houses, the Family Weekend Partner 5K race, and Culturefest, a student-run festival featuring an international bazaar of performances and foods.

— By Matt Kelly